If we go by the word, an "automobile" should be anything that can move (mobile) on its own.  The etymology section under Wikipedia suggests so.  But dictionaries, Wikipedia, etc., say that its meaning is simply "car".

My question is: can planes, trains, and other vehicles be called automobiles? If not, how does this transaction happen (since etymology suggests that it can be anything that moves on its own)?

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    No - the noun form is only used to mean "car". If we need an adjectival form for other things, we use something different, like self-propelled. – FumbleFingers Nov 15 '13 at 7:00
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    If going by the etymology alone, then human beings could also be called automobiles (we move of our own accord as well), and binoculars could also be called televisions (they enable you too see things that are far away). While the etymology itself is correct, the semantic content of a word does not always follow etymology—in fact, it does so surprisingly rarely. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 17 '13 at 16:27

Yes, an automobile is only a "car", the kind of road automotive vehicle for passengers that was first built in Germany in 1889. Also the noun with this meaning was well established before the advent of aeroplanes and airships.

One early name for the new contraption was automobile carriage (German: Automobilwagen) perhaps not so not surprising since these vehicles looked very much like the carriages of the day.

Scientific American reported in Vol 77 "In 1894 a great impetus was given to the automobile carriage by a competition organized in Paris by the Petit Journal."

Very early automobile was used as a noun, also in popular literature:

"The automobile ran down the verge of the plain. Here a secure spot for a camp was selected." The Bradys in Frisco; Or, A Three Thousand Mile Hunt ([1899])

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You're may be right with your analysis regarding the etymology of automobile. However, this word is invented or they came up with it solely for the typical four-wheeled vehicle running on roads.

Airplanes and trains are also moving, yes, but they are preferred to be called with their own names.

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    Trains and locomotives are not the same thing. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 17 '13 at 16:23
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    Oh, sorry about that. Locomotives are the engines. Not much familiar with that topic. Thanks! – Lester Nubla Nov 18 '13 at 1:35

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